Your Guide to Ann Arbor

October 1, 2017

This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to take a quick road trip to explore a new city: Ann Arbor.  Now I know, Ann Arbor can be seen as a “rival” city to my Columbus readers, but I urge you to give it a chance.  It is charming, and has lots to explore.  Plus, it’s just a three hour drive away!  Not bad at all for a weekend getaway.  Before you plan your trip, check out my guide to Ann Arbor for all my picks on what to eat, drink, and experience!


frita batidos 1  frita batidos 2  frita batidos 3  frita batidos 4

If you go to Ann Arbor, you MUST go to Frita Batidos.  This was our favorite place we ate on the trip, and was recommended to us by several people before we left.  For good reason!  It was fantastic and I urge them to come to Columbus.  A Frita is a Cuban inspired burger.  We went for the chorizo patty with their cilantro salsa on top.  All Fritas come with french fries on top, standard which is truly how all burgers should be.  A Batido is a milkshake.  They had a huge list of flavor options including hibiscus, coconut, and passionfruit.  We chose the passionfruit and it was phenom.

blank slate 1  blank slate 2

While nothing can beat Jeni’s (ever), we had a great time checking out Blank Slate Creamery.  I had a scoop of dairy-free Coconut with Strawberry Balsamic swirl and it hit the spot!  They also have flavors WITH dairy too, of course.  Try the brown butter cookie dough for something rich and delicious.

  jerusalem cafe

If you love hummus as much as I do, make a stop at Jerusalem Garden.  The hummus, pita, rice, and shish kabobs were all to die for.  It also was crazy affordable!  A full plate with more food than you could ever ask for only rang up for about $16.  It also has a great patio if you’re willing to wait for it.

isalita  avalon

Our final dinner was at Isalita and it did not disappoint!  I tend to be a harsh guacamole critic, and theirs passed the test!  The tacos were delish as well (although a bit small).  There is usually a wait here but just grab a frozen blood orange margarita at the bar while you wait!  Even though we were pretty full, our bed and breakfast host recommended a particular dessert we had to check out: the Brown Butter Blondie from Avalon.  A blondie filled with pecans and topped with honeycomb ice cream was to die for!


beer grotto  beer garden 1  beer garden 2  beer garden 3

There is definitely more of a “brewery culture” here in Columbus, but Ann Arbor had some drink spots we really enjoyed!  My husband and I love sours, so we were excited to stop by the Jolly Pumpkin for a quick drink.  No pictures as it was super dark, but definitely check it out if you are a sour fan like us!  Another great spot we discovered was the Beer Grotto.  We loved this spot!  It had a HUGE selection and the option to get 3 oz pours which allows you to try a few.  Right across the street, you’ll find Bill’s Beer Garden.  This spot was a blast.  All outdoors, plenty of seating, and the feeling of being in a German beer garden!  They also had a great selection of drinks, and we even grabbed a checkers board and had a great time playing (even though Jake won 2 out of 3 games).


UM1  UM2  UM3  

As Ann Arbor is a “college town,” if you visit you may feel inclined to visit the UM campus.  I would highly recommend!  It is a BEAUTIFUL campus, with a lot to see.  The buildings have that classic-feel, and the campus grounds have quite a bit to check out.  Specifically, I recommend going to their art museum right on campus!  It is free (with a suggested donation box), and had some fantastic art.  Absolutely loved our time on the UM campus during our trip.

      farmers market

Our bed and breakfast was in an area of town called Kerrytown, and even if you don’t stay there–it is worth checking out!  The neighborhood is beautiful, and the homes are really fun to look at.  Plus, they have a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays that is a must-see!  I wished we could have bought all the fabulous produce that was on display there.  We didn’t love our experience at our bed and breakfast, so I’m not going to promote it here, but the location was perfect.

main st 1  main st 2  main st 3

Main Street is where we spent the majority of our time.  If you like walking, you can do it all on foot (we did!).  All of the restaurants and drinks I recommended were in this area.  Plus, there were fun shops to check out as  you walked in between meals!  While we stayed in town due to the quick nature of our trip, there are apparently some great trails and outdoors-y things to do just outside of downtown if that’s more your speed. 🙂

So I say, put the rivalry aside and plan a fun weekend trip in Ann Arbor!  We loved our time there and hope you do too.

Not feeling an Ann Arbor trip?  Check out my travel guides for two other cities you can drive to from Columbus: Louisville and Cincinnati.

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